SBA Disaster Assistance Offered to Florida Small Businesses following DEM Advocacy
This week Governor Rick Scott and the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that federal low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) will be made available to qualifying small businesses in Florida counties that have been adversely affected by red tide algal blooms and toxic algal blooms respectively. These declarations are the culmination of weeks of work by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to cross reference loss data collected from small businesses and analyze SBA guidelines. This information was used to advocate for the declarations and to make recommendations for their geographic scope.
The EIDLs will be available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, as well as private nonprofit organizations affected by red tide algal blooms and toxic algal blooms in counties specified under the declarations.
The declaration for the Red Tide Algal Bloom covers Lee, Manatee and Sarasota counties and the adjacent Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Polk counties.
The declaration for Toxic Algal Bloom covers Lee and Martin counties and the adjacent Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.
Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2,000,000.00 with the purpose of meeting working capital needs caused by the disaster. Rates on these loans are 3.385 percent for small businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years.
Applicants may apply online at DisasterLoan.sba.gov. SBA Customer Service Representatives will also be available at Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications. Centers are located in Lee, Manatee, Sarasota and Martin counties. Applications and program information are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.